Chapter 6:

A Rude Awakening

The Consequence of Saving the World


The wagon that blocked the road frustrated me to no end.Bookmark here

I could understand if your transport went through some malfunction and had to stop, but leaving it parked in the middle of the road? Seriously?Bookmark here

Worse, the poor horses stood patiently and obediently, waiting for their owner who was nowhere in sight. I initially considered the possibility of bandits attacking the transport, but the fact that the horses were left behind meant that that was not the case.Bookmark here

Luckily for me, Breven and the nearby villages were particularly famous for the pedigree of their horses. They were extremely hardy and were a popular choice for heavy cavalry, but were also notoriously difficult to tame. Having raised some of the most stubborn mounts in all of Fallcross, I was certain that I could calm the abandoned horses and lead them away from obstructing the road.Bookmark here

However, before I could do that—Bookmark here

“I’m going to take a closer look at the wagon.”Bookmark here

Sereya nodded upon hearing of my next move.Bookmark here

At a distance, I couldn’t really tell what was the issue with the wagon. I needed to look more carefully at its wheels. That was where the majority of wagon-related problems lie, after all.Bookmark here

Sereya stayed closely by my side as I circled around the deserted wagon. One by one, I crouched beside each wheel, carefully examining them. Their spokes, axle, the metal band which served as a tire—Mother Nature did take her toll on them, but all of them were still in working condition.Bookmark here

Standing back up, I diverted my attention to the wagon’s body. There didn’t seem to be an issue with its make. Just like the wheels, there were minimal signs of wear and tear.Bookmark here

“Is everything alright?!” Bookmark here

“Yeah!”Bookmark here

I answered the merchant who let us hitch a ride. He remained seated at the helm of his vehicle, about 20 steps away from Sereya and myself.Bookmark here

There was nothing wrong with the deserted transport, but that was precisely what was wrong. Who would leave their wagon and horses—both of which were still fine—in the middle of a road that led to the capital?Bookmark here

There was only one more spot for me to check. I lifted open the canopy to see what exactly was being transported.Bookmark here

“You won’t find anything there.”Bookmark here

True, the only thing I discovered was that this was a trap.Bookmark here

Turning to face the direction of the unfamiliar voice, I saw that he wasn’t alone. These thugs who surrounded us left this empty wagon as bait. While it was possible for us to go off the stone-paved path and continue onto Allantheim, it was surely only a matter of time before someone else checked the wagon out and fell into this ambush.Bookmark here

“Quite daring, aren’t we now?” Sereya remarked. Her question was directed to the bandit who spoke earlier, whom I could only assume was their leader.Bookmark here

“Watch ya tongue, lady! You won’t be acting so high and mighty after we’re done playin’ with ya!” bellowed the biggest, nastiest-looking of the bunch.Bookmark here

“You idiot!” the skinny bandit beside him lashed out at the big bandit, “We can’t touch her, she’s supposed to be a present!”Bookmark here

Huh? Present?Bookmark here

“Well, you heard them, lady,” the bandit leader clarified, “Don’t confuse us for your regular roadside robber. We’re gonna take all the goods, the horses, and your pretty face, and give them to Remus Whiteaxe as a present!”Bookmark here

“Oh,” Sereya muttered. Her dejected expression struck me as unexpected. Did she know this Remus Whiteaxe fellow?Bookmark here

“It didn’t strike me that you were the type to do charity.”Bookmark here

“Charity? Hah! We’re gonna join the Whiteaxe Mercenaries and get rich! Just surrender peacefully and make our jobs easy, then maybe we don’t need to hurt anybody.”Bookmark here

The merchant who chauffeured us already had his palms up in surrender. He was probably scared witless. That’s a pretty standard reaction, especially when there were about 20 or so guys circling around you with swords and clubs.Bookmark here

“Are you scared?” Sereya whispered towards my ear.Bookmark here

I shook my head. Why would I be scared? Right beside was one of the Seven Heroes, a living legend who fought off the demonic invasion. If anyone should be scared, it would be the bandits, or what was to be left of them anyway.Bookmark here

“Good, then I’ll need you to wake Melyeze up.”Bookmark here

Crap.Bookmark here

I forgot, Melyeze was still sleeping in the merchant’s wagon! So much for being the Third of the Four Wings or Ragnarl—more like the Third of the Four Winks of Sleep!Bookmark here

Between me and the wagon, there were about four guys. I probably had to run past them while Sereya shielded me, right?Bookmark here

“Okay, I’ll wake her up,” my faith in Sereya’s skills was absolute. I just needed to make sure that I did my part in this battle.Bookmark here

“Thanks, Evan. I’ll keep them busy,” her words reassured me. Bookmark here

Taking a deep breath, I steadied myself. I prepared my body to run as fast as I humanly could towards the wagon. I ran!Bookmark here

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...Or so I thought. I couldn’t run, not because I didn’t want to, but because I suddenly found myself high up in the air!Bookmark here

“SEREYA!” I screamed. That idiot tossed me into the sky!Bookmark here

From my precarious position, I could see all the bandits craning their necks up to look at me. They were just as equally confused as I was.Bookmark here

The only person who wasn’t confused, however, was Sereya. That madwoman was smiling at me! Bookmark here

My blood froze. Whether it was the sudden change in temperature or the shock from this stunt, I didn’t know. All I knew was that seeing everything on the ground getting bigger and bigger was absolutely terrifying.Bookmark here

I closed my eyes and left my fate to the Goddess.Bookmark here

Crash!Bookmark here

I swore, my soul left my body at the moment of impact. To my surprise, the landing didn’t kill me. Wait a sec, I was on top of our wagon!Bookmark here

The white canopy of the wagon broke my fall. My back hurt like hell, but otherwise, nothing was broken, I hoped. Bookmark here

It was then that the echoing of clashing steel caught up to my ears. That Sereya—using me as a distraction while sending me as close as possible to the wagon.Bookmark here

She’s crazy, but I had to hand that one to her.Bookmark here

I jumped off the top of the wagon. An electric shock went up both of my legs as I landed on the hard stone surface. Ignoring that tingling sensation below my knees, I turned towards the opening of the wagon. Bookmark here

Lo and behold, there lay Melyeze Lloydven, still and motionless as a corpse. The only part of her that was still moving was her face. This useless thing was actually snoring as Sereya fought tooth and nail!Bookmark here

Previously, I thought that her sleeping was peaceful, calming even. However, this time around, her slumber fueled my rage.Bookmark here

“MELYEZE!!!”Bookmark here

With everything I got in my lungs, I blasted her name right into her ear. Just to make sure the log woke up, I shook her shoulders back and forth with great gusto.Bookmark here

“E-Eh?”Bookmark here

Even after my crazed assault, she still had the gall to gently open her multi-coloured eyes. Maybe I had to consider myself lucky. If I was in her shoes, I would’ve killed the person who woke me up that way on the spot.Bookmark here

“E-E-Evan?!”Bookmark here

Idiot! Now was not the time to be blushing! Bookmark here

“Wake up fool! There’s a fight happening!” I angrily pointed outside as I lost my temper.Bookmark here

“W-What?! Fight?”Bookmark here

She stood up from her feet and drew her blade. Any sign of lethargy was replaced with alertness. It was quick. By the time I realised she got up, she was already leaping out of the wagon in one jump.Bookmark here

Her landing almost had a spring to her step. Rotating her body around to face the carnage, her swift movements came to a shocking halt.Bookmark here

“N-No…”Bookmark here

The colour from her face started to disappear. Her jaw was shaking. She no longer had the look of a warrior, only that of a terrified young girl.Bookmark here

Thud.Bookmark here

Unable to maintain her grip, her weapon fell to the cold, stone pavement. Bookmark here

My heart stopped beating. Don’t tell me—Bookmark here

“Sereya!”Bookmark here

I refused to believe that something could happen to my trusted companion. After what she said to me—the answer that she was still waiting to hear…Bookmark here

There was no way that she would die!Bookmark here

I got out of the wagon as fast as I could. If anything happened to Sereya, I—Bookmark here

Damn it!Bookmark here

As I got next to Melyeze, the scene that laid before her finally came into my view. Bodies upon bodies of bandits littered the road and its surroundings, but that didn’t matter to me. The only thing that mattered…Bookmark here

...was smiling back at me? Sereya was perfectly fine!Bookmark here

“Took you long enough!” her soothing voice blew away all my worries.Bookmark here

“N-No way, I can’t believe it!” Bookmark here

Wait, then why was Melyeze so shocked? Bookmark here

“HOW COULD I HAVE MISSED SEEING YOU IN BATTLE?!?!”Bookmark here

Bookmarked
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